Sophomore Alex Wagner-Trugman, originally from Studio City, Calif., began his singing career in the modest setting of his bedroom closet. He taught himself how to sing, but it was not until college that Alex thought of music as a talent that could propel him to success.
Now, as one of 36 finalists on America’s beloved “American Idol,” Wagner-Trugman has withdrawn from the university for the spring semester and has the chance to become the next superstar from the U.
Alex, who rose to the top of more than 100,000 contenders, will participate in his first live performance from Hollywood tomorrow.
During the summer of 2008, Alex and friends went on a road trip to Phoenix, Ariz., to audition for “American Idol.” When Alex had the opportunity to showcase his singing talent, he sang James Ingram’s “Baby Come to Me”.
Although Simon Cowell said no, judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi gave him the golden ticket to Hollywood. Alex went on to find his groove on the historic stage of the Kodak Theater during Hollywood Week and continued to advance.
In order to progress to the top 36, though, Wagner-Trugman had to beat his friend Cody Sheldon in a sudden-death sing-off, which he did with a stirring rendition of Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”
“I can’t take any credit for Alex’s singing ability,” said David Malis, Wagner-Trugman’s voice professor who helped him sing with more authority. “He works hard and is focused on it. I think Alex can be successful at any singing style.”
Wagner-Trugman’s roommate for the past two years, sophomore vocal performance major Dan Granbow has especially missed the presence of Alex.
“It has been tough be here without my best friend, but I know how amazing this experience is and how much it means to him,” Granbow said. “All I can do is be his biggest fan and support this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If anyone can do it, it’s Alex.”
A unique character whose quirky personality has already been highlighted on the show, Alex is an eclectic person whose outlandish activities consistently surprise his friends and classmates.
Suitemate Ryan Freedman, a sophomore majoring in marine science and biology, remarked on the many ludicrous activities he remembers with Alex.
“My favorite Alex memory was when he won the Rock, Paper, Scissors competition in Sportsfest 2008. We carried him in on a plywood board. He got all dressed up with a robe, sunglasses, and gelled hair,” Freedman said. “He somehow won the entire event and became the Rock, Paper, Scissors champion.”
Alex has even earned the respect of his professors outside the classroom.
“Alex has a great [basketball] jump shot,” laughed Malis, who knows Alex on a personal level. “Alex is a charming, personable, talented guy. If things go well, he could be there in the end.”
His fate now rests in the hands of his peers. The Miami Hurricane will hold an “American Idol” watch party at the Rathskeller tomorrow from 7:30-10 p.m. Join friends and fans to cheer on Alex as he competes to enter the top 12.
If You Go
What: Alex Wagner-Trugman “American Idol” Watch Party
When: Tuesday March 3, 2009 from 7:30-10 p.m.